Monday, September 8, 2008

Socialism for the Rich! Yay!

The rescue of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is supposed to help stabilize the Financial System, and that's supposed to be an Excellent Thing. The stock holders will take losses, according to the analysts, indeed, some will lose everything. But the investors are relieved, so they say, and international markets are pleased as punch. Taxpayers may be on the hook for trillions of dollars, but what's a few trillion here and there when the System must be saved?

It's another example, in a very long string of them now, of the Bush Government and its enablers rushing to the aid of the billionaire class and telling the ordinary schmuck in Modesto that he shouldn't a bought that big new house (or that barely habitable old one) in the first place, too bad, so sad. Scram!

It's an old story, one of the oldest in this country, and it is a story that has given rise to populist uprisings time and again, but for some reason, this time, nothing. Not more than a peep out of the lumpen proles, when they are heard from at all. By the millions, they are losing their homes, and we hear nothing from them but for an occasional tear-jerker in the paper about how hard it has been on some people. There are no movements, no marches, there's no growing outrage from the masses, nothing.

Quiet as a mouse.

Everyone is as quiet as a mouse, and the economists are unanimous in blaming the victims.

Their fault they were so easily led to perdition.

Meanwhile, trillions are made available to the billionaires to ensure none of their privilege and position is affected in any way. That IS the System.

Until masses of Americans reach the point of ultimate pissed-offed-ness, and until they realize they can actually do something about it through united effort and pressure (as well as occasionally inconveniencing the billionaires), the System will continue to be saved by serving the interests of billionaires alone.

Progressives and Populists alike should be joining hands to make sure the People do reach that point, but to date they are not. No, Progressives are obsessed with programs and legalism, Populists are still wallowing in theocracy and arbitrary authoritarianism. Consequently the billionaires make out like bandits, rights and programs are diminished, and we slide ever closer to Armageddon.

We need a "class war" in which the well off middle class Progressives, the internet enterpreurs who pose as Progressives, the DFH "anarchists," and the jacked up populists wondering why God's Plan is throwing them out on the streets combine forces to once againcurb and ultimately geld the billionaires.

But that means actually doing things, like shutting down business as usual, exposing and shaming government operatives in the service of the billionaire class, taking over governments on the local and state levels, and pushing hard on federal officials.

It means moving toward and then accepting a level of Socialism for the People that is common nearly everywhere else in the civilized world but still resented here. It means complete top to bottom prison and justice overhauls that drastically reduce prison populations and it means eliminating private prisons and all the corruption that goes with them.

It means taxing the rich into oblivion if they utter a peep of protest. It means deconsolidating media ownership, even seizing some media in the name of the People.

We could go on and on, but the fact is, we have to do something. And do it fast. Something beyond merely sitting passively, enjoying the show.


  1. DFH anarchists? ¿Cómo?

    Also, I think pressure tactics alone aren't going to work. What the "left" (however defined) needs is a coherent political movement that will work to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen again. I'm of the opinion that the best way to do that is to expropriate the big capitalist institutions like banks and megacorps and socialize their assets. The New Deal was an experiment at rigorous regulation, and I think the inability (and unwillingness) of New Dealers acknowledge the fact that leaving the system intact inevitably leaves the foxes guarding the hen house. This is not to say that it was all their fault, of course, as the New Deal was not as rigorous as it was intended to be (the Southern Democrats did what they could to prevent that), but that the US has never had a government that was serious about economic democracy and social justice except where such things made a profit. The New Deal is the exception that proves this rule.

    I think a good way of thinking about it is to envision all of these problems as being tied up in the Gordian Knot of capitalism. Since capitalist property can't help but encourage people to do the kinds of things we're objecting to, we're going to have to replace it with a property form that allows us to do what we want. Our opponents derive their power from ownership of capital, so even if capital per se weren't the problem, capital is still implicated; in order to attack the root of their power, we must attack their capital. Since we're not about to replace one set of masters with another, the baby must be thrown out with the bathwater. Time to go back to the drawing board for the American Experiment.

    Perhaps this time we can do it without the religious exceptionalism, racism, sexism, classism, etc. The ideal that we hold up as our self-image need not be a mere ideal; it can be reality. It's going to require very hard work to get there, but I think we can manage it if we work smart.

  2. Excellent points, ingsoc. Just as the original Progressive "Revolution" was intended to support and maintain the interests of capitalists, with a few bones thrown to the masses, so it was with the New Deal. But those efforts to get a couple of scraps and bones for the masses couldn't have succeeded at all without pressure from below: the Populist movement in the 19th Century on the one hand, the mass unemployment and misery of the Depression (leading to a good deal of Communist and Socialist "alternative thinking") on the other.

    But these are stop-gaps, aren't they? With the pupose of holding the line against the interests of the masses in order to maintain the power and authority of the rich and their manager-class.

    People seem to be oblivious, but I'm not convinced that's really what's happening. Instead, I think there may be a real searching for coherence in the face of chaos. The old paradigms and ideologies have been too badly discredited (ie: Communism, even to some extent Socialism, while Fascism may turn out to be the default -- but not a welcome one -- in the absence of Socialist/Communist activism). No new paradigm or ideology has grown up to fill the gaps.

    Secular Fascism seems to be the direction the Plutocracy is headed, while many of the masses are headed toward out and out Theocracy. Neither one has any room for Democracy, and neither one provides a sustainable and progressive economic model, at least for those who aren't rich.

    If we're going to get back on a real progressive path, we're going to have to find some ways to dismantle both the Fascist and the Theocratic models that are being foisted on us now.

  3. Oh, DFH = "Dirty Fucking Hippies", a catch-all description for everyone who isn't aligned with the current power structure, including but not limited to the handful of hippies still around...

    "Anarchists" is what the Defiant Ones in St. Paul called themselves, at least according to their web postings. Of course that sobriquet has been challenged... !